With the dawn of a new decade comes the national necessity of an updated census, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution to occur every 10 years. And why should you take the time to fill out a 2010 census form? The benefits of filling out your questionnaire—look for one on your doorstep around mid-March—are likely forthright enough to inspire even the busiest among us to take a moment for the census.
First and foremost: money. $400 billion will be distributed to U.S. communities, and none of us want the Peoria area’s population to be underrepresented. 2010.census.gov lists “hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, public works projects and emergency services” as possible recipients of government funding.
For the inventive census-taker, the positive possibilities do not end there. The census website enumerates cases in which residents used government data to “support community initiatives involving environmental legislation, quality-of-life issues and consumer advocacy.”
Ensuring the accuracy of your questionnaire is important, though. One common question involves individuals in unique living situations—think college dorms, shelters, jails, nursing homes and military barracks. The Census Bureau Residence Rule says you should be counted where you live or sleep most of the time. That means you Bradley students should use your campus address if you spend more time there than back at your parents’ home.
Finally, the Census Bureau feels that every U.S. resident should understand the steps that allow such an enormous undertaking to function. First, workers canvassed the country between April and July 2009 to update maps and addresses. Next, the forms will be sent out. Census Day is April 1st, used to remind residents to send back their forms. From April through July, government workers will make visits to addresses that have not mailed back completed questionnaires. Finally, the Census Bureau will provide the 2010 figures to the president. Remember to fill out your form and make it count for central Illinois! iBi